Ramblings

Level Up!

I’m getting up there in the Yoga World! I’m officially 300hr YTT  Qualified (500hr in total)

This past month has absolutely flown by- but they say time flies when you’re having fun (and learning/practicing something that you love!)
My experience at Kranti Yoga exceeded expectations and I’ve come out of the course feeling more confident and capable than ever! I’m left feeling incredibly greatful for this entire experience; the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, the daily ocean swims, progress in my personal practice as well as developing as a teacher. All of it.
My heart is happy, my soul is full and I’m so excited to keep progressing in this beautiful lifestyle of which we call Yoga


I’m now travelling India for 18 days! Something I’ve always dreamt of doing and for once in my life I have not only the time but the money to do so! I had my first experience with the Indian train system and absolutely loved it.
I’ve began in Hampi, off to Mysore tomorrow, then to Cochin, Munnar, Veranasi, Udaipur, Agra and Pushkar before returning home to recommence teaching in my home town.

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Hampi has been an absolute surreal experience even if a monkey did try to steal my GoPro whilst I was practicing Primary Series on a rooftop! The ancient temples (we’re talking 14th century!) and spectacular sunsets have blown my mind and given me further understanding of India’s history.

I’m so very excited to head to Mysore tomorrow as part of a bit of a Yoga pilgrimage and to make my way upwards taking it all in!

Love & Light,
Claire.

“To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim”– Martin Luther King Jr.

Yoga (and Sertraline) Saved My life

I recently had the privilege and honour of speaking on a panel of women for an International Womens Day event in my home town.

I was taken aback at just how many people my story resonated with, and a lot of women came to me asking for the notes from my speech. I’ve been blown away with requests, feedback and inquiries, so below is my transcript from my speech that I hold very dear to me. I share it hoping that it may resonate with a few more people who struggle with mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling please reach out.

Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue  1300 22 4636
E Headspace 1800 650 890

 

Good morning to all of you beautiful women. So wonderful to see you all.
Before I begin, I’d like you all to join me in a few deep breaths.
So if you will, please join me by closing the eyes, bring a smile to your face. Big inhale……..
To be honest that was more for me and my nerves but doesn’t it feel great!?
According to my research, 75% of people suffer from speech anxiety…so fear of public speaking….So what a wonderful theme for todays event! Fear; On The Frontline.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Claire Beath. I’m a Boorowa local, and I teach Yoga here in town.
When the wonderful Janene Hurley contacted me and asked if I would like to be one of the speakers at today’s event, I’ll be honest, I was in shock. Of course I was absolutely honored and flattered and said yes. But I was honestly very surprised to be asked. I had known about these woman’s days and the caliber of women that spoke on the panels. So I feared (the theme of today! In so many ways) that I had nothing to offer. Janene said “Just tell us a story! We just love to hear peoples stories”. I thought about as a woman what is it that I struggle with, what is it that I fear and what is it I would want to hear. So here’s a few defining chapters from my story.

My name is Claire. I’m 25. I’m an artist, a musician, a lover, a fighter, a feminist, a vegan, a Yogi, a wanderer, an against the grain goer, a gypsy, an environmentalist, and I struggle, or rather now cope with, Anxiety and Depression.

I guess I should begin with the previous 24 years that lead up to this exact moment in my life to put everything in context for you.
I was officially diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression in January 2017. Although I suspect, now that I know what I’m dealing with, that I have had it my entire life. Be it nature or nurtured, who knows. Many a sleepless night has been spent trying to figure that one out.

An uncle and a hero of mine who struggles and copes with the same mental health disorders, calls Anxiety and Depression “The Two Ugly Sisters” and they usually walk hand in hand together.
For those of you who don’t have anxiety and depression, you probably won’t know what it actually feels like. So let me try and paint a picture for you.
Anxiety is the constant dread and worry that overrides every single thought, every situation, every encounter and every moment of the day. It’s being woken up at 4am in the morning and thinking about something stupid you said or did 8 years ago and not being able to fall back asleep.
Anxiety is worrying that you’ve left the oven on, even if you didn’t even use it. It’s walking down the street and thinking everyone is looking at you. It’s hearing someone laugh and thinking they’re laughing at you. It’s the constant feeling of being judged. It’s being hyper aware and sensitive of other peoples emotions and thoughts. Anxiety is worrying about worrying, and then worrying some more that your worrying will give you worry warts, or worry cancer or worry ulcers. Although it is far more complicated than just “worrying”. If you struggle with anxiety and people tell you “don’t stress” you’ll know that that within itself is the most frustrating paradox.
Anxiety is the pandemonium of irrational thoughts that consume you; they own you and they avalanche from your brain and land heavy on your chest, suffocating you, making it hard to breath, hard to speak, hard to move.
It’s exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s controlling and quite frankly it’s shit.

Depression is complete exhaustion for no reason at all. It’s not wanting to get out of bed and face the world. It’s feeling like you’re dying although the Dr says there’s nothing physically wrong with you. It’s wishing that there was something physically wrong with you so you could explain it to yourself or to others.
It’s the constant wonder of “what’s the point?!” it’s the constant feeling of being a burden to your friends and family who don’t understand why you can’t “Just get over it. Be happy!”. It’s the profound guilt you feel for not being able to do just that.
It’s the devastation and disappointment you feel for your self, wishing that you could be someone else, or worse, wishing that you didn’t have to “be” at all.
It’s knowing that there is in fact people out there who have it far worse than you and that are far happier than you, which in turn makes you feel like an ungrateful, worthless, waste of space.
Depression is much more than just feeling sad or your monthly PMS.
Depression is dark, it’s lonely, and it’s incredibly scary.
I had a very fortunate, stable and loving upbringing, but there are moments in my childhood that I can first pin point my anxiety. Other than the standard tantrum I’m sure I was very capable of throwing, I do recall a few times as a kid that feeling of being completely overwhelmed and not being able to express it. So unfortunately it came out in hysteria. Which now as an adult, I can identify it as a panic attack.
I remember the other ugly sister, depression, approaching me at a young age also. Having bizarrely heavy and profound thoughts. I can remember the feeling of sadness, heavy stress and dread. That’s not really something a five year old should be aware of, let alone feel.
Highschool sucks for everyone. It’s an incredibly tough time for kids. You’re trying to figure out “who” you are, you’re trying so hard to fit in. You’re constantly stressed, you’re hormonal, you’ve always got assessments due, you feel judged by all your peers all the time, you’re trying to meet your teachers and parents expectations, you’re growing boobs (or in my case not growing boobs). I personally had terrible haircuts and went through a bit of an “emo” phase. Tough times indeed.

But on top of all of that chuck in bullying, deep insecurities, losing a close family member too young to cancer, an eating disorder and constant, self-hate, you’ve got yourself a very unhappy and lost teenage girl. And it’s becoming more and more frequent with our teenage girls today.
I stopped excelling at things that I loved and that I was good at like music and art, and instead allowed toxic people to treat me poorly.
The pressure I felt at school across all areas was overwhelming, and my anxiety was in charge for most of it.
I got through highschool and was so excited to get the hell out of there. Two days after I turned 18 I moved to England. It was the only thing I was sure of at this time in my life. Whilst everyone was going to uni or staying in their hometown, I wanted out. I wanted to meet new people, see new things, to get lost in the world.

I pretended like I was tough, and that I wouldn’t miss my family, like it wasn’t a big deal! When I arrived at Heathrow Airport my anxiety crept in to inform me “IT IS A BIG DEAL!” I was so scared. I even remember calling my mum from a pay phone having what I now know was a panic attack because I couldn’t do the simple adult task of setting up my own bank account in another country! Not really a big deal at all! I was just learning how to do life! But in my mind I had failed. I was supposed to be grown up and independent and able to do things like that!
I soon settled in and calmed down and this year abroad turned into one of the best, most definitive years of my young adult life. I learnt so much from it. I learnt to be responsible, independent and organised. I learnt to live off not very much money at all, still travel and have a good time. I learnt that life indeed is defined by experiences, not things.
I travelled for a year and made amazing friends, I saw and did amazing things, and regained my lust for life. I loved the feeling of being in awe of the world. Experiencing different cultures, different traditions, and different foods. Travel became and still is my one of my greatest loves.

Maybe my need to see more and do more comes from growing up in a tiny rural town, but I’ve always been an against-the-grain-goer. I’ve always been infatuated with the big wide, world.
Unfortunately in this environment, and to a lot of people, the gypsy lifestyle is considered completely nuts!

Family functions have never been my forte… For a very long time I dreaded and feared them. People closest to you questioning you about what you’re doing with you’re life? Are you going to University? How much money you’re making? I’m sure it comes from a good place, but to a young adult it feels like pressure and expectation. I remember I had returned from a stint of travel and was home for Christmas. A particularly dull family member asked me if now that I was home was I going to get my life together? Well she actually asked me if I was going to get my “shit” together

I didn’t realize it WASN’T together! As far as I was concerned, I was living MY life the exact way that made me happy and that’s all I wanted. I wasn’t harming anyone in my process of figuring it out. But as a young adult you’re swayed and shoved into thinking you’re doing it wrong, when really you’re just living your truth and figuring it out! Like everyone has done before you. Just figuring it out on your own terms!
I’ve always been a gypsy. I don’t want ties. I just want to see it all. I will happily live out of a backpack, wake up somewhere different frequently, I will sleep on the floor and be comfortable if it means my lust for travel is fulfilled. And I know that that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but IT’S MINE. My cup of tea is adventure, it’s meeting complete polar opposite souls and still finding something in common with them. It’s hearing their accents, learning their culture, eating their food, seeing their wonders, walking in their shoes. That’s life to me. People tell me that it’s not sustainable, but I’m not worried. I don’t want things and stuff and status. I want life experiences, stories and adventures. I don’t want to be on my deathbed wishing I had of! I want to be saying, “Geez I’m glad I did that when I could!”

So I’ve travelled- that’s my consistent. I get itchy feet. I have to see things and do things ALWAYS.
When I came home, from living in England, all of my friends whom I had travelled with were going to university, but that never felt like the right fit for me. I didn’t want to commit to something for 4 years for the sake of it and just because everyone else was. So I did what my family told me to do at family functions, which was get a good public service or “career” job. I had always worried “am I doing life right?” Which is a very frequent anxious thought pattern of mine.

I got so caught up in what I thought I should of being doing, what people were telling me I should be doing, that I forgot to just appreciate what felt right for ME!

I got a job as a flight attendant for a rural airline. My anxiety was terrible around this time. I was so scared of something going wrong on a flight and not being able to handle it. I was also 19 at this point and this was my first proper job.
This job was NOT for me. I hated the rules and the hair spray and the stockings. I hated the fake giggling at sexist jokes men would make, and once I was on a flight, as we were coming in for landing, the left engine caught alight. It wasn’t brought to the pilot’s attention or mine, until passengers were safely in the terminal. The baggage handler had noticed it. The engineers had known about this issue for WEEKS! So this completely scared me off the job. So I transferred, and worked in flight operations for a few months, hated it even more, and I then quit before the airline eventually went into receivership.
I then got a job in a VERY corporate office as an admin assistant for two consultant teams. I hated every second. It was soul crushing every time I walked into that beige, high-rise building.
Consultants would work 10hr days every day and never get ahead. They were never content. The office culture was malicious, as they’d throw each other under the bus to get promotions. There was a competitive, money hungry culture where enough was never enough. I didn’t fit. The last straw was when my boss once told me that I needed to wear more grey and more beige to work. I applied for my visa to Canada and booked my flight two weeks later.
When I was 21 I moved to Canada. I initially went for 6 months and ended up being there two and a half years.
I had an amazing first summer in Jasper, Alberta working at the most incredible place, Maligne Lake. The second summer season I worked there, I became a boat driver and tour guide. Something that was real challenge with anxiety.

In the winters I lived in Canmore, Alberta. A beautiful little mountain town enclosed by the most magnificent mountains I had ever seen. Living in Canada was amazing, even in the winters, and it still has a special place in my heart. I lived in the heart of the Candian Rockies. I woke up to sunrises and snow covered peaks and walked home with glorious mountain sunsets over fresh lakes. I loved the abundance of wildlife; I loved the fresh, nature and outdoor activity orientated lifestyle. There was no corporate competition, there was no one there asking me “what are you doing with your life?” we just lived. It was enough. In nature, in happiness. I climbed high peaks, paddled long lakes, swam in glacially fed waters, made life long friends from all over the world. It was a really beautiful time.

But I suppose you’re wondering where the yoga and sertraline saving my life comes in?

While living In Canada I did a fair bit of drinking and partying (as a young adult does!) And I forgot how to take care of myself. And not knowing what mental health issues I actually had, I wasn’t taking care of myself in that sense at all. Within the space of about 8 months my dad was diagnosed with cancer, a very good friend of mine committed suicide, and I went through a really rough break up. It was tough but I thought I was fine. I thought I was coping just fine but I was away from my support network. I thought my need to drink was normal, just to numb what was going on in my head, and I thought that it was just how normal young adults coped with things. I thought I was fine.
I wasn’t fine. Not at all, and mums can pick these things up, even if they’re on the opposite side of the globe. I had practiced yoga off and on though out my high school years and later in life but I had never really had a consistent practice. I always thought it was just a trendy thing that only skinny, flexible people did and posted on instagram. When things were really bad, and my mental health started to slip, my mum organized for me a 10 class pass to a wonderful yoga studio in the town where I was living. This is where my true passion sparked. Once a week I’d go to a class of an evening and it was like I was saved.
I was able to stop the pit of anxiety in my stomach; I was able to still the crazy, anxious thoughts even just for an hour. I started to take care of myself physically. I became incredibly body-aware and fell in love with how my body is actually capable of so much if I allow it to function the way it should. Such a big milestone for any woman. My Thursday nights were soon dedicated to this class instead of the bar.
I found another love; Yoga.

That being said, after I discovered Yoga I still wasn’t doing that well mentally. I still wasn’t really sure what I was dealing with or why I felt the way I did all the time. I started to lose sight of what feeling “normal” was like. I made the decision to return home, even just for a little bit to reset and get well.
When I returned home to Australia late 2016 I was a mess. A truly anxious and depressed mess. I was hanging on by a thread. I felt like I was in the middle of a vast ocean in a rapidly sinking boat. I was suffering a complete emotional breakdown and had no Idea what it was at the time. I just knew I couldn’t go on like this.
I went to the deepest darkest corners of my mind and the result was scary. I couldn’t see any light at the end of a tunnel. It was so dark that I even had a planned an escape route. This is still tough for me to talk about but it has a happy ending I swear.

I went to the doctors for just an overall health check, and my doctor immediately could tell there was something going on in my head far more serious than just “stress” or “feeling sad” She told me I needed to get help and maybe consider medication. I said to her “but if I get help, or acknowledge whatever this is, then it becomes real. Then it becomes an actual problem” My doctor looked at me as I was sobbing and shaking and said “I think it might already be a problem. But it doesn’t have to be this hard”

I honestly thought that I could beat a lifetime of anxiety and depression without help. I thought that I SHOULD! And HAD to handle it. I felt the enormous stigma around mental health, I felt like a burden to my family and friends for being this way. I felt like I couldn’t talk to ANYONE!

But I was defiant I was going to fix it, and do it Naturally. I turned my nose up at the idea of medication, following the stigma around it. With nothing left to lose I tried everything else. I became completely sober. Eating completely vegetarian and clean, reading self help books, I had tried even going off all hormonal adjusting contraception, I was exercising 4 hours a day. I felt better to an extent, but every evening around bedtime, my anxiety and depression crept back in.

I felt like the ultimate failure that I couldn’t “fix” myself. I was devastated that I might have to go on medication. I feared that I would be judged as crazy. Now I realize that the only judgment I needed to fear was from myself.
On one particularly dark day, I gave my self two options; Take the escape route, or reach out. I reached out to an amazing woman in my life, My Aunty Jude who is also a mental health nurse. She convinced me to at least try the medication. Now with really nothing left to lose, but at the same time EVERYTHING to lose, I got myself on the lowest dose of Sertraline, an anti depressant and mood stabilizer used to treat anxiety and depression.

I still 100% firmly believe that you cannot just take a pill to magically solve all your problems. I strongly believe that western and eastern medication needs to harmonize and balance. So I continued my clean eating, sober living, regular exercise, daily meditation and yoga practice.
But what the medication did was stabilize what ever goes on in my head. It balances things out. It silenced the consistent, overbearing, whirlwind of thoughts. It got rid of that pit of anxiety that has sat on my chest for far too long. It allowed me to breathe and gave me some clarity to start working on myself, to start making decisions with out second guessing myself over and over again.
I’ll be honest; the first month on sertraline was rough and took some getting used to as I adjusted to the medication. I was dizzy; tired all the time, and forgetful. I wondered if it was really worth being on at all. But then I remembered how bad things got and how distressed I had felt. I didn’t want to go back to that.
I then got the best, but perhaps most challenging job for someone with anxiety and depression. I landed a recruiting job with a Volunteer Organization. My role was to go around to various universities here in Australia, selling our amazing volunteer programs conducted in South-East Asia, South America and South Africa. My role was to run into as many lectures full of hundreds of students and essentially preach, in 60 seconds or less, about our amazing programs. I had to be loud; I had to be engaging, exciting and memorable. I had to leave people wondering about the organization and wanting to know more so that they’d come to our information sessions the next day and then perhaps go on a volunteer program.

Two weeks into my recruiting run I was really starting to miss my consistent yoga practice. One weekend; my recruiting partner and myself were driving through Sydney preparing our flyers for our next university, when he made the error of turning into on coming traffic. The last thing I remember was seeing a bus coming towards me, I thought, “This is going to hurt, I’m going to die, my poor mother, and God I want to practice yoga right now and forever”
Honestly….These are the things I thought of before impact. An epiphany almost.

I was knocked out and woke up covered in glass and my own blood from a fairly superficial wound in the back of my head. Because I was t boned by the bus on the passenger side, they couldn’t open the door, so a stranger held my hand until the services came. I went into panic and shock, I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t feel my hands and feet. It was honestly the scariest things I’ve been through.

I was taken to emergency; they stitched me up, gave me some pain meds and sent me on my way. I was expected to work the day after. Holy moly my anxiety peaked. Just ask my poor mother. There was a couple of very stressful phone calls that weekend. I was disappointed and angry at the organization for treating the situation fairly flippantly and expecting me to run around campuses with injuries.
The only thing driving me was the potential to actually land the gig of conducting the volunteer programs overseas, as what they call a Team Leader.

After my recruiting contract ended, I applied for the role of Team Leader. I got it and flew to Cambodia to work for the next three months. This was hands-down the hardest job I’ve ever had. And maybe ever will have. It was 24/7 for three months. I had groups of up to 25 volunteers all around the ages of 18-20, and a lot of them had never travelled before. I had to pick them up from the airport, organize their food, their accommodation, make sure they were having fun, and conduct the programs like building a schoolhouse or a library or a water catchment. I had never built anything in my life! We worked on wildlife sanctuaries working with rescued elephants; we worked on building one of the largest artificial reefs in the world contributing to marine conservation. And most importantly we helped beautiful, amazing communities in Cambodia that need all the aid they can get.
I was like a mother to over 100 volunteers over the course of the three months. It was tiresome, it was challenging on every level, it was hard on my mental health, volunteers got sick, I got sick, and I got stung by a scorpion in the jungle. It was tough. But I loved every single second of it. Some of my volunteers found out that I was really into yoga and asked me if I’d do a class for them. I had NEVER taught a class before and really didn’t have any idea what I was doing…but said yes, mainly to get a good review from my volunteers. I fell in love instantly with teaching yoga.

After working in Cambodia I came home for a few days to see my family, and then after a very last minute decision, flew to Rishikesh, India for my Yoga Teacher Training. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be as good as everyone else, or that I would find out that I really DIDN’T enjoy teaching, and that I had just wasted all of this money on this course. But I decided to hush the anxious thoughts and at least give it a go. India after all was always on my travel list.

This intense month in India, practicing Yoga every single day, meditating, eating well, learning the fundamentals and history surrounding the beautiful practice, was one of the most enriching times in my life. I was surrounded by like-minded world-wanderers, gypsy souls who a lot of struggled with the same things I did! We had all come together to continue our personal practice and learn how we can share it with many others. There’s something really beautiful about that.

The peace that I have found within my personal practice is something that I will always cherish and work hard to keep. I love the peaceful way of life which yoga preaches. Eating well, being kind to one another and the planet, practicing discipline, control as well as the sensation of letting go. I love the ancient tradition and culture that surrounds yoga. Yoga has been around for thousands of years…so that must give it some credibility.

After my month in India, I passed as a Registered Yoga instructor. But I had challenged myself on so many levels in the past year, I had proven to myself that I could do it! I had proven to myself that with all my mental health hurdles, I was capable. I could literally get hit by a bus and keep on keeping on! So I had one last challenge in mind; A two-week trek through the Nepal Himalayas on the Anna Purna Circuit.
I thought I had seen mountains in Canada…but this was the real deal. Nepal had always been my mecca. It was number one on my travel list for so very many years and I was finally ticking it off.

I did the trek with my guide Bim. I carried my pack the entire way, walked every step of the way- this was something that I really wanted to do for myself, I wanted to do the hard work for myself. Was I scared? Oh my god, Yes. It was the most physically challenging tasks I’ve ever done. It was also incredibly mentally challenging. Being alone with your thoughts for about 8hrs every day as we walked. But such a rewarding trek.

Each day was a new challenge with new terrain to trek. We stayed in beautiful tea houses along the way, immersed in the Nepalese culture as we climbed higher and higher, meeting the locals, eating my weight in Dhal Bhat. I loved the high altitudes and the weird way it made me feel. I felt that my yoga course had given me the ability to keep a fluid, conscious breath, even in incredibly thin air. We made our way through the Anna Purna Nature park and reached the pinnacle of the trek; Thorong La.

At 5,416 meters high, Thorong La is the highest pass in the world. And my god is it beautiful, worth every single step. This was the highest I had ever gotten myself and it was such an incredible feeling.

After Nepal I returned home to Boorowa NSW at the end of 2017. I began my next adventure and challenge; teaching Yoga here under my business baby Ramble OM. It has been such an incredible experience beginning my teaching here, almost a full circle experience! My aim is to bring Yoga and all its benefits to as many people as possible. Particularly those who struggle with mental health, and women. I want women to feel peaceful and beautiful. Strong in their mental, emotional and physical bodies. Most of us have no idea how wonderful our bodies are and how wonderful they’re meant to feel. I want to bring that self-love and body awareness to women and I want to bring that same peace it brought me so many years ago, and that it still brings me every time I come to my mat.
So what’s next? Next month I’m travelling back to India to train for my next certification in the Yoga Teaching World. I hope that it will give me better insight into the human body, adjustment and alignment as well as a stronger personal practice. Am I nervous? Of course! But I’ve learnt to harness that energy and turn it into peace and excitement. This is what I love. This is what makes me feel good. This is what helps me get out of bed in the morning good days and bad days. And (with the help of sertraline) I think it saved me!

I don’t say any of this for self-appraisal, or to give the false impression that I’ve got it all figured it out.
Not at all. I still have really bad days and panic attacks. I still have days where I can’t get out of bed or have total melt downs. But now they’re fewer and a little easier to recover from. I’m just taking one day at a time, good or bad. I’m just figuring it out as it comes, I’m focusing on the present moment, peace and happiness, my body and my breath, and helping others.

I say all of this to let others who may find themselves in that same sinking boat all alone in the middle of a mental health ocean- You will be ok. Show yourself some love, some kindness, and give yourself the right tools, be it medication or therapy or whatever! Own it, and never be ashamed of it. Learn your triggers and learn to cope accordingly. Give yourself a chance! You’ll discover that you’re capable of accomplishing incredible things.
And remember, when things get stressful or scary, close your eyes, bring a smile to your face, and take a few deep breaths.
 

 

 

 

 

25 Lessons Learnt

Yesterday I turned 25! A quarter of a century! Holy Moly!
Here’s 25 important things I’ve learnt in 25 years;

  1. Don’t set your life on fire to keep somebody else warm. Don’t put your goals, dreams, ambitions on hold for someone who wouldn’t do the same for you. You’ll only end up resenting them and probably yourself.
  2. Eat wholesome, delicious, satisfying, nutritious foods! And fall in love with those kinds of foods and the way they make you feel.
  3. You can do anything if you want it bad enough, work hard enough for it, and put your mental strength towards it. You can get the job, run the extra kilometre, climb the mountain (be it literal or metaphorical). Get off your ass and at least try!
  4. Breathe deeply and consciously. When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, for goodness sake breathe. And when it’s calm? breathe some more.
  5. Meditation and exercise endorphins are SO good for your mental health whether you struggle with it or not!
  6. Mental health is a real problem, but it’s not a failure. Accept it as something to learn to live with and learn to cope accordingly. Learn your triggers, disconnect from toxic people and toxic practices and take care of your self. You are worth the care.
  7. You’re not as fat as you think you are.
  8. You can never control someone else’s actions. You can’t control the way they feel, the way they perceive things or their view on you. You can only control all of that within yourself.
  9. Read more! Read lots of different books. Fiction, non-fiction, Biographies, self-help books! Eckhart Tolle is a genius.
    Intelligence and insight is sexy.
  10. Don’t bake your precious self in the sun. If you’re like me and you’re fair and freckly (took me a long time to accept it and love it!) you WILL NOT TAN! So stop trying and just chuck on some fake tan. You are still beautiful and you look exactly the way you’re supposed to look! Freckles, curves, weird birthmarks and all. Sun baking gives you cancer and will age you into looking like a speckly, leathery couch. That being said, take care of your skin! It’s the largest organ of the body. Moisturise and drink water!
  11. Pick up your goddamn garbage! Care for the planet, do your part, recycle. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.
  12. Stuff, things, money and status WILL NOT make you happy. The consumerism cycle is vast like a black hole. You need very little in your life. Experiences and relationships are priceless and worth investing your time and energy.
  13. Never feel guilty for living your life the way you want to! You only get one! There’s no rule book or one way to “do life”. Never feel guilty for not going to uni, not getting the husband, the house, the car, the kids, the six figure salary. If that’s not your path, then that’s OK! Live and love your personal truth.
  14. Pay it forward. Be kind and generous because it’s the right thing to do and feels good to do so. Karma is real and you never know when you’ll be the one in need of a helping hand. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
  15. Swallow your damn pride, say you’re sorry and admit when you’re wrong.
  16. Mistakes are a good thing. Learn from them and don’t beat yourself up over them! Life is full of ups and downs and it’s never Disney. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying.
  17. If a man makes an inappropriate, sexist remark towards you or any other woman, call them out on it and tell them off for it. It’s ok to be a strong, powerful, intelligent, independent and opinionated woman.
  18. That being said, be NICE to other women!!! If we start tearing each other apart like so many of us do, it only allows men to do the same. Never slut shame, or mother shame or just plain out woman shame! Don’t attack other women for what they wear or how they look. I like the quote “Good for her! Not for me.”
  19. Volunteer! Either abroad or in your home country. See someone else’s struggle to put yours in perspective. Help people who need it the most especially if you’re in the position to do so. Do it selflessly.
  20. Try new activities! As we grow older we stop doing this for fear of looking stupid, failing or not being the best at a new skill right away! Try surfing, rock climbing,
    learn to sew or to play an instrument. Continue to obtain new hobbies and skills!
  21. Spend less time on social media. Especially when you’re out with others. You’re living your life through a screen and it’s not real. Stop doing things to get “likes”, enjoy the moment for you, put the phone down and for god sakes talk to each other! You’re becoming ignorant, anti social assholes.
  22. Ask your friends and family “Are you ok?”. Hug your loved ones close and if you see they’re struggling, step in, help out, and follow-up.
  23. A vegetarian/vegan diet is not nearly as hard as you think it will be or that you’re told it will be.  Try it. Cut down your meat consumption.
  24. Quality not quantity. In friends, in experiences, in possessions. Take care of those valuables and make them last.
  25. Age is just a number and this life is long and beautiful if you allow it to be.

Ups & Downs Of 2017

I don’t know about you, but I feel like this year has absolutely flown by. More so than usual! To be fair I’ve crammed a lot into this wonderful year perhaps making it seem faster paced. Always a nerd for reflection and gratitude I thought I’d type out the ups and downs, even if only for my reference!

In January I began with an emotional breakdown and had hit rockbottom. The year wasn’t off to a very good start at all. I had just moved back from living in Canada for two and a half years and my mental health was at it’s all time low. I turned 24 and everything was turning to shit. My physical health, my mental health, my relationships and my goals. In one final push I decided to get my self back on my self-love and care track (with the help of some very supportive family members). It was hard. But so, so worth it.

I got a job as an International Ambassador through a volunteer organisation, Reach Out Volunteers. I would go around to different universities in Australia presenting our programs to rooms of hundreds of people trying to recruit them onto programs. Something I couldn’t ever fathom doing with my crippling social Anxiety that had taken over my life at the beginning of the year. But I did! And gained such amazing confidence and life skills from that particular job.IMG_0323

I got hit by a bus whilst driving in Sydney recruiting. Quite possibly the scariest moment of my life so far. Both myself and my recruiting partner were pretty much totally fine. I was knocked out and had a pretty nasty concussion and wound to the back of my head. When I came to I started going into shock, I couldn’t feel my hands and feet. Several beautiful strangers came to our aid, held my hand and calmed me down until the ambulance came. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers and always pay it forward!
I remember just as the bus was about to hit me though, I had a bit of an epiphany. I thought “This is going to fucking hurt”, “my poor mother” and “I want to practice Yoga alllll the time”IMG_0336

I visited South Island New Zealand in a van with some amazing souls. I never had any desire to travel to New Zealand, but surprisingly it now has my heart! It has beaches and mountains and adventure. It blew me away, and it’s just a quick little flight across the ocean to get there.IMG_0470

 

Through recruiting with Reach Out Volunteers, I then got the best job in the world: Team Leading volunteer programs for three months in Cambodia! It was hands down the most challenging job that I’ve ever had. It pushed me and required confidence, organisation, and all my energy. I loved every single second of it.

 

Things went wrong (such is life) like with 24 volunteers on a bus we got a flat tire and had to hitch hike up a mountain, volunteers got sick and I got sick. Whilst working on an elephant sanctuary I was stung by a scorpion (one of the most painful sensations I’ve felt) and my foot got infected and swelled to a ridiculous size!

 


Things also more often than not went very right! I got to swim with baby elephants, build classrooms and water catchments for struggling Cambodian communities, I contributed to marine conservation efforts by building an artificial reef and I did it all with some of the most amazing, generous and big hearted volunteers, some of which I hope I’ll know forever. Cambodia and the Cambodian people will also always have a special place in my heart.

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Had my heart broken for the billionth time. Repaired it and found love within myself instead for the definitive and final time. Lessons were learnt and I still refuse to be hardened by someone elses lack of compassion. “In the end only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” Buddha.

I Left the best job in the world which was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Continuing my personal growth, I then went on to complete my Yoga Teacher Training in India. A country that I’ve always wanted to visit and a culture I’ve always wanted to immerse myself in.

 

At this point in the year, I had had diarrhoea for four months! From all the different places I had travelled I had obviously picked up something not so pleasant in my stomach. I got super sick and lost too much weight.
Not quite ready to return home, I ticked off a very old bucket list item and visited Nepal to trek the Annapurna Circuit. Trekking through the Himalayas for two weeks was one of the most incredible, challenging and rewarding tasks I’ve set myself, and gave me the confidence to want to conquer other mountains in my life (literally and metaphorically)

 

I shit the bed for the second time in my adult life, suffering still from some sort of stomach infection. I finally made the switch to a completely Vegan diet (for environmental and ethical reasons also) and I have never felt this good. I wish I made the switch years ago. I have for the first time in my life that I can remember, a really healthy relationship with food.
I returned home and started teaching Yoga as a qualified teacher through my own little business baby “Ramble Om”. I’ve found my passion, my “thing” and I’m so happy that I get to sink my teeth into as many opportunities I can through Yoga. I never thought I’d be a teacher of any sort to be honest, but I love it and for now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Yoga gives me a peace that I never thought I could reach, especially not at the beginning of this year! It’s a peace that I want to help others discover and obtain.

 

Ups and Downs, Highs and Lows. I hope that 2018 provides me with all the more challenges, lessons and triumphs,

2017 you were kind to me, but more importantly, I was kind to myself.

Love & Light,
Claire.

You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer” –Eckhart Tolle

Find A Job You Love & Never Work A Day

I’ve officially been teaching as a qualified Yoga Instructor for a month now through my little business baby, Ramble Om.
It has been SUCH an amazing, humbling experience and I’m sure a lot of Yoga Instructors have this very same feeling. I wish I pursued it years ago.

I was initially shocked at just how many people from my tiny little town turned up to classes, eager to begin or continue their Yoga journey with me. I was shocked even more so when the same students continued to turn up to class. Being from a small, rural town I wasn’t sure how Yoga would be received, especially my eastern-taught approach to it. So to see minds opening to something new and different blew me away!

My students are at all different skill levels which is such a beautiful challenge for me as I try to create classes that suit and benefit all students (as well as myself)
I’m met with rewarding obstacles, thinking on my feet, finding my flow in every class and I love it! I feel at home when teaching- something I NEVER thought I would or could do. I love seeing progress in my students. I love challenging them and seeing them challenge themselves. I love seeing them fall madly in love with their individual Yoga Journey. I love seeing how proud they are when they complete a series of sun salutations without taking a breather in childspose or when they feel their flexibility growing. Or even just how calm and accomplished they feel after a class.

I detest self-appraisal so that’s certainly not what’s intended here, but I also love that in some way I’m helping people any way that I can, particularly with mental health struggles. When I was obtaining my certification our teachers would say
As a Yoga Instructor people will feel able to open up to you. Be prepared for when people come to you with their problems
And it’s so true. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe because Yoga is spiritual and we do focus a lot on meditation and calming the mind, perhaps because I’m open about my own personal struggles with anxiety and depression, or maybe I just have a kind face, two ears to listen with and a sturdy shoulder to cry on! I’m always more than happy to stay back after a class to talk about everything and anything with anyone.
I’m humbled that I can give people even just 60 minutes of calm and self-love, and also the tools to take it home with them.

This might sound like a cliche’ (because it is) but I do learn from my students. I’ve learnt how to give better verbal adjustments before resorting to physical adjustments with all different types of bodies, I’ve learnt confidence and organisation,  I’ve learnt patience and humility, and I’ve also learnt that it’s totally OK to make mistakes! Laugh it off and love yourself all the more for it.
I can’t wait to further better myself as a Yoga Teacher and Practitioner as there is ALWAYS room for growth. I’ll never be a revolutionary or change the world, but I can help change someone’s world.

Love & Light,
Claire
xx

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”- Confucious.

Hey! Teacher!

In my quiet, little home town of Boorowa NSW there has been for quite some time now a demand for regular Yoga classes. Which is so very perfect for me because as a newly certified instructor I have been wanting to teach as much and as soon as I can!
Thus begins my next exciting adventure and chapter of life, Ramble Om (notice the domain change!)

Commencing next week, I’ll be starting three classes per week in the local Recreation Club. As much as I’d love to have my own personal Shangri-La of a space, that is something that financially will have to wait. The Recreation Club here in town has a nice clean, open space on the premises that will work just fine. Hopefully I’ll be able to set up more and more classes as myself and my students progress.
I am SO beyond excited. Of course I’m nervous as well, but truly its a good energy! I find I only get really nervous these days about things I really, really care about.

This week I’ve been focussing on designing my Facebook page, logos and marketing material, something that I thoroughly enjoy.
I’ve been planning classes, selecting music, stocking up on incense and yoga props, and networking with other fitness instructors around the town. I’m surprised at the amount of people who seem interested in the classes. I guess time will tell indeed how interested they actually are, determined by attendee numbers. But I remain positive. I am so excited to share this amazing life tool that has helped not only myself, but millions of others in so many areas of life.

My classes are open to all levels of Yogis, young, old, men and women. Although I’m incredibly passionate on giving women in particular even just an hour out of their busy week to practice bringing some consciousness and calm into their worlds. I want to bring back their self-love and appreciation and believe I can do that through the movement, breath and focus of Yoga.

Stay tuned for new and exciting things to come!
Love & Light,
Claire

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it”- Julia Child.

Even Swamis Have Bad Days

Swami Atma joins us this evening for another outstanding guided meditation. It’s hard to choose a favourite part of these yogi days, but our sessions with Swami are definitely up there! He enters gracefully as always. The whole class finds a seat and attentively awaits his first words.

Someone asks him “How are you today?”
He replies with “Today I am not so good. I’m not in a good mood”

This honest answer shocks us a little but he has reason. Swami Atma tells us that he’s planning to travel to Moscow and has been applying for a travel visa. However the process has been delayed and he flies out soon. I’m sure we’ve all encountered an annoyance similar to this. He is frustrated but is still optimistic and carries his contagious smile.

Swami Atma always encourages us to ask him questions, so I ask  why he originally wanted to become a Swami.

As sincerely as always, he closes his eyes, contemplating and concentrating. He tells us that for as long as he could remember, even as a child, he had profoundly overwhelming questions like who am I? What is my purpose? What will happen to me when I die? What will happen to my family when I die?

He told us that he seeked peace and freedom from these thoughts and feelings and thus sought after the life of a Swami. A Swami has no possessions, no wife, no children, no materialistic values. They seek enlightenment and to help others in the process. He is nomadic, he is free and he is at peace.

Swami Atma tells us the importance of being sensitive, compassionate, empathetic beings and that it is more than ok to feel all ranges of emotions. That these emotions aren’t what define you. That It’s ok to have bad days where you may feel frustrated or annoyed. These are normal, realistic, human emotions, and if bottled up or suppressed, can cause illnesses both in the mental and physical sense.

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I relate this to a personal experience of recent where someone emotionally hurt me. I expressed that I had been hurt, upset and quite frankly angered by their actions. This individual refused to see my perspective and refused to allow me to feel these emotions. They said that it changed their entire perspective on me. I felt shamed. This really hurt and confused me, as they too were more than capable of outbursts of anger and frustration on more than one occasion. This person in a hypocritical sense, was also completely incapable of taking any responsibility of their own actions, emotions and the resulting consequences.

So what action should we take? Suppress your natural, human emotions to keep up a polished and perfect appearance to the point where you’re dishonest to yourself and others? Or admitting that you are in fact only human, that you make mistakes, that you sometimes feel frustration, anger or sadness.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the latter, be it bias to my personal situation or not.

I’m intrigued by Swami Atma’s honest and pragmatic approach to balancing emotions. I also wonder if those overwhelming thoughts and feelings he felt pre-swami days potentially are what we diagnose in western society as Depression and Anxiety?

So I pose another question to him; “In Western societies more and more people are struggling with what we title as Depression and Anxiety. Be it nature or nurtured, it has become an epidemic. However, in Eastern societies these mental health issues don’t even have a title to diagnose them as so. What do you think the difference is between these two worlds, and what do you see as the ways of coping?”

He answers; “In Western societies you are always alone, you struggle alone and are made to feel shamed in those struggles. In Eastern societies you always have someone to talk to. You’ll always find a sense of community and a support network that helps bear the load of your struggles. We don’t know the words ‘Depression’ and ‘Anxiety’. We find ways to cope together be it yoga practices, meditation or a simple conversation, and if all else fails we have Mother Nature and she is always there to heal us”

Have I mentioned how much I love Swami Atma!?!?

IMG_3748He encourages us all to always take time to do the things you love for the simple sole fact that they make you happy. Play guitar, paint a picture, dance, sing, go sit by running river. Do it because it makes you feel good, and happy and full. Do it for you.

I’m just a dipping a toe in the ocean that is the discussion of mental health, but as someone who struggles, this was a wonderful evening of open discussion that I wanted to share because truly, you’re never as alone as you may feel.

Love & Light,
Claire.

“If all else fails, we have Mother Nature and she is always there to heal us”- Swami Atma